#AISDFuture – Building it Together


Beth Wilson,
Austin Independent School District

Beth Penfield
Brailsford & Dunlavey

Tyler Specht
Brailsford & Dunlavey


2 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

In November 2017, Austin voters approved the most ambitious bond in Central Texas history: $1.1B for Austin Independent School District to bring 21st century learning spaces to its students. The bond passed with overwhelming support from the community Ð 72% voter approval Ð the result of thoughtful collaboration and deliberate engagement with the community.   With a portfolio of aging schools and deferred maintenance issues, a changing demographic landscape, and two of four previous bond propositions being disapproved by voters, AISD determined that change was needed and set out on an ambitious path to “Re-invent the Urban School Experience.” The effort began with a long-range facilities master plan (FMP). This living planning document set the vision and outlined strategies and actions for AISD to take over the next 25 years to transform the district and modernize schools. Realizing the magnitude of such an undertaking, AISD carefully deliberated and planned how the community would be actively involved in the effort.    This presentation and active discussion will cover the specific strategies taken to develop the FMP, the 21st century means and methods of communicating with a large body of diverse community members, how to implement a collaborative process that is authentic but grounded in objective data, and other specific details that made this community engagement process successful.    The session and room will be set up to replicate meeting methods utilized during the FMP process so that attendees can learn new best practices directly from participating and be able to apply to your next projects.    Session format: 15 to 20 minute Gallery Walk, 20 minute presentation, three 20 minute rotating round table focused discussions, and 20 to 25 closing discussion and audience Q&A.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will learn about the development and use of master planning guiding principles and strategies ;
  • Participants will obtain lessons learned on collaborating together on a new transformational vision for school facilities
  • Participants will understand new formats and structure for collaborating with the community and receiving feedback during a master planning process ;
  • Participants will learn case study examples of arriving at master planning project recommendations and closing the feedback loop with stakeholders.
Primary Competency:

Community Engagement:  Leads the internal and external communities through a discovery process that articulates and communicates a community-based foundational vision, forming the basis of a plan for the design of the learning environment. The vision is achieved through a combination of rigorous research, group facilitation, strategic conversations, qualitative and quantitative surveys and workshops. Demonstrates the skill to resolve stakeholder issues while embedding a community’s unique vision into the vision for its schools.

Primary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary Domain:

Parameters: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the aspects and guidelines of a project often regulated or administered by other entities, organizations, and/or governing agencies.